St. Louis County Council Committee Promises Swift Passage of Prison Salary Increase Bill | Politics
The seven-member board is expected to approve the wage increase to replace an earlier bill, unanimously approved in August, which allocated $ 1.9 million in ARPA funds to provide lump sum increases of $ 500 to workers after every 90 working days.
This bill was the council’s response to former prison warden Doug Burris’ request for $ 5 million in ARPA funds to increase hourly wages, which he first made in April. At the time, the prison was down to 45 officers, but Burris’ demand dragged on for weeks as the council debated the measure.
The board compromise was designed to provide incentives to prevent officers from resigning. But Deloitte, the accounting firm advising the county on compliance with federal regulations, said the proposed lump sum payments would be an ineligible use of federal relief money.
On Thursday, Damon Armeni, a senior executive at Deloitte, told the committee that an hourly increase would be permissible because, under federal regulations which allow an hourly premium for “essential workers,” or full-time hourly staff working in public health and safety positions that pose increased health risks due to close contact with multiple people.
The pay rise would also reduce overtime payments, Anders told the committee. So far this year, the prison has paid about $ 2 million in overtime, up from $ 1 million throughout 2020. Anders has vowed he could cut costs by about $ 700,000 with even one. part of the 80 vacant positions filled.